Ranking the Fast & Furious movies is a bit like picking your favorite child: Easy if you’re honest with yourself. There’s really only one correct answer for the best movie (Fast Five) and the rest fall based on how much of that movie they have in them.
Ranking the songs on The Fate of the Furious: The Album — the soundtrack full of original songs made for a movie where a bunch of cars fight a submarine — is a bit harder. It’s like ranking your favorite pizza places in town. Even the bad choices are at least okay and will serve in a pinch. There’s probably only one or two places that you absolutely do not mess with. Maybe you heard they have roaches or their crust is actual cardboard. But if someone else shows up with it, you’ll eat it and feel alright about it.
All this is to say gathering a who’s who of rappers to rap about superheroes driving cars in places where you don’t usually see cars was an excellent idea, and this list would be splitting hairs if any of the men in the Fast & Furious universe had hair. But we’re paying fealty to the gods of the internet and nitrous oxide and doing our best to rank this ridiculous, awesome and ridiculously awesome album.
14. Post Malone — “Candy Paint”
Sorry, Stoney. This song got the memo about the car imagery, but failed to ingest the vibes of a Fast & Furious movie. In short, this song is too downbeat and low-key for a movie that probably has more than two close-up shots of flexed biceps and probably more than one air-drop of luxury cars.
13. Pitbull, Camila Cabello & J. Balvin — “Hey Ma” [English Version]
It shouldn’t be surprising how much better and more confident J. Balvin sounds when he’s rapping in Spanish, but here we are.
12. Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert & Quavo — “Go Off”
This song falls victim to being too much about the movie. The whole song is based around idea of cars and racing, which makes me think that they haven’t seen a Fast & Furious movie since like 2003. This song doesn’t quite get to “deepest, bluest, my hat is like a shark fin” territory, but it might win the Ja Rule honorary award for goofy car race songs.
11. Bassnectar, Lafa Taylor & Ohana Bam — “Speakerbox”
Dubstep exists for these movies and exercise bikes. So this track ranks higher than it would in any other context, because each new action set piece in this franchise is delivered with the joy of a bass drop. Even if the chorus sounds a little too close to that G.I. Joe PSA where they mixed in “Fun Time Deh Yeh,” this track belongs here.
10. 2 Chainz, Young Thug, PnB Rock & Wiz Khalifa — “Gang Up”
If dubstep is the Fast movies as a genre, then 2 Chainz is the series as a rapper. Nobody knows what they’re about and delivers it as well as Tity Boi. And given this series’ penchant for gratuitous ass shots, a verse by the rapper who just sat in on a Brazilian butt lift is appropriate. It falls to number ten for Young Thug losing the beat a few times and for being the album’s requisite Wiz Khalifa appearance. At least producers are finally learning to drop his verse at the end of songs.
9. Kodak Black & PnB Rock A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie — “Horses”
The flow that PnB uses on this song makes everything sound good. It’s just a fact. He doesn’t really say much but it doesn’t matter. A Boogie’s verse about filling the hole in his heart with fancy cars is mostly ridiculous but in the context of a downbeat track about horsepower, it kind of makes sense.
8. Migos – Seize The Block
Rick Ross was busy making Rather You Than Me, but luckily Takeoff was around to take on his breathless bark. And who knew that all late-era Rozay needed was a few people behind him willing to repeat his punchlines with conviction?
7. Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign & Sage The Gemini — “Don’t Get Much Better”
“Jeremih’s Justin Timberlake move” makes my stomach churn to type out. But in practice, it’s actually pretty great. The Late Nights singer subdues his love for strange, clipped melodies in service of an inoffensive and ultra-polished groove. He’s still Jeremih, though so a few lines manage to sneak in to the otherwise obvious reach for the radio. JT would never sing “don’t f*ck up the vibe, panties and problems put them to the side.”
The incongruity of a reference to Frasier in a song from the F8 soundtrack is enough to cause nosebleeds, but this song is otherwise smooth enough to pass.
6. Lil Yachty & Rico Nasty — “Mamacita”
Oh my god. I am so ready for Lil Yachty’s Latin crossover. This song sounds like if “Broccoli” was birthed in the backroom of a Cuban jazz club instead of a literal beam of sunshine from the middle of D.R.A.M.’s forehead.
We can’t lie. Rico Nasty’s verse is not good and seems like many of the complaints that get leveled against Lil’ Boat are ramped up to eleven by the “Hey Arnold” rapper. But the beat — and the potential it reveals of Yachty collaborating with Caribbean artists — is too good not to comment on. Somebody get Omega on the phone, you know he’s not busy.
5. Kehlani & G-Eazy — “Good Life”
Does Kehlani owe ’08 Rihanna a check for this one? Sure. Is G-Eazy still G-Eazy? Yeah. But “Good Life” is going to serve as the innocuous wallpaper of the summer and we’re all going to be okay with it because that hook is killer.
4. 21 Savage & NBA YoungBoy — “Murder”
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. This song was a hit before they decided to put it on the soundtrack and it barely even has anything to do with aftermarket parts. But there’s still no greater introduction to the brutalist worldview of 21 Savage than the lines “I put your favorite rapper in a wheelchair, n*ggas say they from the streets but b*tch I’m still there.”
3. Pinto Wahin, El Taiger & DJ Ricky Luna — “La Habana”
Horn drops are better than bass drops. Bassnectar take notes. Expect Diplo to fully ingest the sound of this one and sell it to us by next year.
2. Kevin Gates — “911”
It might be hard to remember in the sanitized trop-pop of 2017, but dancehall as a genre tends toward the grimy. Don’t get us wrong. More Life is great and that Ed Sheeran song is a bop even if you avoid playing it when friends are around. But America’s dancehall invasion needs its Buju. And since the man himself is still in prison, Kevin Gates’ cough-syrup-poured-over-gravel delivery will suffice.
1. Pitbull, Camila Cabello & J. Balvin — “Hey Ma” [Spanish Version]
Am I biased because I want Camila to shine outside of Fifth Harmony? Maybe a little. Do I want everyone to be up on J. Balvin? Absolutely. And if “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola” isn’t going to do it, then a Pitbull collaboration just might.
It doesn’t hurt that this song is a relentlessly well-crafted warm weather song, a Latin/EDM-pop blend that sounds like cheap beers in an ice bucket that’s mostly water at this point. It’s tempting to resist Mr. Worldwide, but your life will be better if you just give in to this mercenary of a pop song.